Salt dough is a wonderful way for kids to explore textures. They can easily turn what they make into any number of things, like magnets or ornaments.
- salt dough (salt, water, flour)
- rolling pin
- cookie cutters
- acrylic roller
- metal spatula
- items to create textures
- baking sheet
- acrylic paint
- varnish (optional)
Salt Dough Recipe
1/2 cup salt
1/2 cup water
1 cup all purpose flour
Combine salt and water. Add flour, mix with a spoon, and knead for about 7-8 minutes, so the dough becomes nice a smooth.
Form a ball and flatten with a rolling pin. Our shapes were somewhere between 1/8 and 1/4 of an inch, however any thickness will do, as long as you adjust the baking time accordingly.
Cookie cutters are great for making shapes from the dough. Once they’re made, set aside any extra dough to roll out again.
Any number of household items can be used to create textures, by pressing them into the dough. A few examples are cedar and pine branches, coral and shells, buttons, graters, toothpicks, and so on. Have kids gather these things before making the dough, because apparently, salt dough doesn’t like to sit around for too long.
Pressing items into the dough sometimes distorts the shape. You can use the cookie cutter again to fix that, by removing any excess dough. If you’re making ornaments, make holes in the shapes prior to baking. Wooden skewers work well for this. Just remember to poke it through both sides to get a nice, clean hole.
Use a metal spatula to remove the dough shapes from your work surface and onto a baking sheet. Bake in a preheated oven at 200 F until they are hard. The length of time depends on the thickness, so keep checking in 1/2 hour increments. Ours were not very thick, but still took 2 hours. Increasing the temperature can cause the dough to become brownish, so it’s worth being patient.
Once they have cooled completely, use acrylic paints to decorate them. You can use them undiluted, for intense colours, or mixed with plenty of water to create washes. If you’re making magnets, you can attach them to the back using a strong glue.